The indigenous population of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a unique demographic and cultural history. Its tradition of endogamy and consanguinity is expected to produce genetic homogeneity and partitioning of gene pools while population movements and intercontinental trade are likely to have contributed to genetic diversity. Emiratis and neighbouring populations of the Middle East have been underrepresented in the population genetics literature with few studies covering the broader genetic history of the Arabian Peninsula. Here, we genotyped 1,198 individuals from the seven Emirates using 1.7 million markers and by employing haplotype-based algorithms and admixture analyses we reveal the fine-scale genetic structure of the Emirati population. Shared ancestry and gene flow with neighbouring populations display their unique geographic position while increased intra- vs inter-Emirati kinship and sharing of uniparental haplogroups, reflect the endogamous and consanguineous cultural traditions of the Emirates and their tribes.
Molecular biology and evolution
Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, UK.